Download your free ListenApp for Schools today

Download your free ListenApp for Schools today

Noisy classrooms have been proven to inhibit the learning capacity of children, which in turn can lead to less than ideal classroom behaviour.

When we talk about designing an effective classroom for students to learn in, we begin by focusing on what it will look like, on the visual aspects. We understandably desire a visually engaging and practical space that children will feel comfortable in and be inspired by.

But in planning what our classrooms should be like, we often overlook the importance of classroom acoustics.

In research conducted by Macquarie University, it was found that in open-plan classrooms, students seated at the front were able to correctly identify 75 per cent of keywords from a group of four similar sounding words, while those seated at the back showed scores that suggested they were guessing the words. With less than a three-metre span between the two groups of students, that’s a big difference in speech perception.

Noisy classrooms have been proven to inhibit the learning capacity of children, which in turn can lead to less than ideal classroom behaviour. Teachers are also negatively impacted by poor acoustics, often experiencing increased stress and exhaustion from vocal strain.

In Australia, there are no enforced standards or legislation for acoustic requirements of a classroom. In the absence of an enforced national standards, as well as the proliferation of open-plan classrooms, Macquarie University, in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and the National Acoustic Laboratories, has developed a free app that helps teachers and schools assess the classroom listening environment.

The free easy-to-use and innovative ListenAppfor Schools measures the level of background noise in a classroom – both within and outside of class time – and the amount of reverberation, more commonly known as echo.

The app also provides an estimate of the sound quality of the speaker’s voice across the classroom by using a traffic light indicator to signal the level of acoustics; for example, good (green), sufficient (amber) or poor (red). Based on the results, the app also gives tips on how to modify the classroom environment, such as adding curtains to windows or placing a seal around the door.

Download your free ListenApp for Schools today.

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